This shit has gotten all touchy lately so I think it's about time to bring back some laughs at other people's expense. Sound good? It's an easy subject but one thats come up a bit lately in the news. The Anti-Vaccine crowd, or Pro-Measles if you prefer, is getting slammed pretty hard by the reality based world. If it wasn't for the dead kids this would be even funnier, and I include the few who have already died from stupid parents and the many more who will. If you want a couple of really good rants from people who really know what they are talking about go here. And here for an older one. That second one really rips into Jenny McCarthy and some of her past craziness. I'm probably being rude, but I guess I've never felt the need to speak softly when ignorance leads directly to the death of innocent people.
I'm not a doctor but I've been following this for a little while now because it came up at work. Someone heard that vaccines were linked to autism, could I find out if its true. So I did a bit of research on the web, and asked a few coworkers about it and quickly found out that people thought vaccines might be linked to autism because there was mercury in the vaccines (I think it was used as a preservative) and the shots are at about the same time that autism can be diagnosed. So some parents came up with a reasonable hypothesis, so far so good. They made a big stink got the mercury removed from vaccines and researchers tested the hypothesis, again so far so good. This is the scientific method in action. And soon the hypothesis was disproved, repeatedly. The one outlier that showed a link has been discredited. So the scientific method keeps rolling, we've ruled out that, now lets come up with a new hypothesis... wait why are all these parents still talking about vaccines? And here's where it all breaks down. In a better world these parents would look at the evidence and say, ok that wasn't it, but we did get mercury taken out of vaccines and thats gotta be a good thing. Now lets take all this energy we have organized and look for a new hypothesis. Lets solve this problem! Unfortunately back on this world the cause became organized around stopping vaccines and not around finding the cause and maybe the cure for autism. This sucks not only because children are now dying from totally preventable diseases but because it means all this energy money and good will is being wasted on a disproved hypothesis instead of trying to find a solution.
This is also a perfect example of why we need to stress science in school and not just as a subject with some boring information to memorize but as a way of looking at the world. Its how we solve problems. Or in the words of XKCD "Science, it works bitches."